Telly: 100,000 Sign Up for Free TVs in First 36 Hours

(Image credit: Telly)

LOS ANGELES—The startup Telly, which launched earlier this week, has announced that since it opened its reservation list for its first 500,000 free TVs in the U.S. on Monday, May 15, the company had exceeded 100,000 sign-ups in the first 36 hours. 

Millennial and Gen Z households comprise two thirds of the sign-ups; median household income surpasses the national average, the company reported. 

"Interest in Telly has surpassed even our most optimistic expectations," said Telly CEO and founder Ilya Pozin. "In our first 36 hours, we had more than 100,000 people register for the ultimate free television upgrade for the living room, without spending a single dollar on marketing, and we're just getting started! We averaged nearly a signup per second, which shows just how much excitement there is for both the groundbreaking new dual-screen TV design and for the new ad-supported business model Telly is introducing to the market."

As previously reported, the company—which Pozin founded after selling PlutoTV to Viacom for $340 million in 2021—is subsidizing the cost of the sets by using the second screen to constantly show ads. The new form factor combines the cinematic picture quality of a  55" 4K HDR Theater Television Display with a separate built-in Smart Screen to show additional graphics and ads. The two screens are integrated by a premium sound bar. Telly is powered by TellyOS, which is designed for dual screens.

While three-quarters of the smart screen will be dedicated to consumer selected content, the second screen also has integrated native ad units delivering relevant brand experiences for the consumer, the company explained. 

Telly has announced plans to ship millions of free units in 2024 after it completes fulfillment of the initial 500,000 reservations in 2023. Consumers can reserve their free TV at and units will begin shipping this summer.

As part of the registration process, Telly households agree to complete a short survey about their household that will be used to help advertisers deliver more relevant advertising experiences that ultimately pay for the free TV. Insights from the initial registrants highlight the broad demand in the US today for the television and its innovative dual-screen design. 

In the initial signups, Telly households skew younger than the US Census national average with two-thirds of sign-ups coming from Gen Z and Millennial consumers.

Telly households skew higher income than the national average with more than seven in ten earning more than $50,000 per year and more than a third earning over $100,000 per year, the company said. 

"For advertisers, it's clear that Telly appeals to the most coveted audience every brand is trying to reach today: Younger, higher educated homes with larger household incomes who, because of cord cutting behaviors, are increasingly difficult to reach across legacy TVs," said Pozin. "Two thirds of those signing up for a Telly are Gen Z and Millennial households who live their lives across multiple screens today and are eager to have a TV in the living room that matches their lifestyle."

Telly's broad popularity also helped the company's app become the #3 entertainment app in the Apple store this week.

George Winslow

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.